Whole Earth Access

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Whole Earth Access
Private subsidiary
Fate Shuttered
Founded Berkeley, California (1969)
Defunct 1998
Headquarters 2950 7th Street, Berkeley, California 94710 U.S.

The Whole Earth Access (1969 [1] - 1998) was a countercultural retail store in Berkeley, California. Two more shops were later opened San Rafael (1982) and San Francisco (1985).[2][3] By 1993 it also had stores in Concord, San Mateo and Sacramento. The San Mateo store closed first followed by all others with the Berkeley store finally closing in 1998.[2][4][5]

According to a 1985 issue of the store's Whole Earth Access Mail Order Catalog, (named after, but not connected to The Whole Earth Catalog which it also sold):

Our Berkeley store opened in 1969, inspired by but independent of The Whole Earth Catalog. It began by carrying books, a few woodstoves, a few power tools, and back-to-the-land equipment. Access to a wide variety of products was available at very low prices through special ordering from distributors' catalogs. Gradually the store began stocking the items most commonly ordered, and we now carry a wide range of top-quality products for basic living, still at very low prices. Our newest section is electronics and communications, which includes cameras, video, audio, and computers.[1]

Larry Farb commented in 1986 to the Los Angeles Times that, "we've grown up with our customers [...] the person who bought wood stoves in the '70s is buying cappuccino makers today."[3]


  1. ^ a b Whole Earth Access Mail Order Catalog: Access to quality products for good living at the lowest possible prices. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. 1985. p. Inside front cover. ISBN 0898151325. OCLC 12234855. 
  2. ^ a b "Whole Earth Access says it's closing all stores". San Francisco Business Times. November 11, 1998. 
  3. ^ a b Zonana, Victor F. (May 19, 1986). "One of Fastest-Growing Chains in U.S. : Whole Earth Access Stores Are 'Bargain Basement' for Yuppies". Los Angeles Times. pp. E1–E2. 
  4. ^ "Whole Earth Access files for Chapter 11". San Francisco Chronicle. May 2, 1996. 
  5. ^ Emert, Carol (November 11, 1998). "Whole Earth Closing Last 3 Stores". San Francisco Chronicle.